Now Hiring? Reasons for the Workforce Shortage in Manufacturing, and What to Do About Them

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The acceleration of all things digital was critical for business continuity at the front end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, as labor shortages affect different industries nationwide, employers are clamoring for more workers to drive business forward. But the mismatch between rising job openings and lagging hiring levels is one of the dilemmas of the current labor market. The recovery in jobs has been uneven with some sectors springing back faster than others. Worker shortages in manufacturing add to challenges in meeting customer and market needs, stalled innovation and rising workloads for existing employees. Here we explore four probable reasons for the slower pace and suggest steps that leaders should consider. Entry-Level Workers Go to Other Sectors In early 2020, the U.S. rapidly lost 23 million nonfarm jobs but then made a swift comeback. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-third of jobs lost were added during the two months following the initial COVID-driven downturn, and 78% have been added as of September 2021—a remarkable rebound in a short period.

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